Advisory Board

The Birmingham City Business School Advisory Board provides advice, guidance and support to the Director of School and other senior colleagues within the school, helping to achieve its vision and strategic objectives.

The Board helps in ensuring that the school can operate as a leading school in its approach to meeting the needs of the employers and other stakeholders, in the UK and overseas. 


Paul Brown

Chair of the Business School Advisory Board

Paul is a Director at EY where he leads the Government and Public Sector team for the region. He is a board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership where he is Chair of the Access to Finance Group and the Business Competitiveness Group.

He is also member of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Investment Board and an Operations Board member of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) supporting £250million SME investment funding for region. He has also recently joined the Technology Supply Chain Advisory Council supporting manufacturing, technology and services companies. Paul has an MBA from Warwick Business School and has studied in the US as part of an International Government leadership Programme at Harvard Business School and MIT.

Andrew Connors

Regional Head Midlands and Head of Public & Third Sector, Corporate & Institutional Banking, Lloyds Bank

Andrew is Midlands Regional Head for Lloyds Banks’ Corporate & Institutional Banking business and national Head of Lloyds’ Public & Third Sector business which includes UK Government, Higher Education and large Charities

Over a thirty year career at Lloyds Banking Group he has held a variety of Regional and National roles across the Corporate, Commercial and Retail Bank.  Andrew is also a Board Director, Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre, and an elected member of the CBI West Midlands Council. Andrew has an MBA and degrees in Banking & Finance and History and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.


CEO, EmployabilityUK

After eight years working in the third sector, Di created EmployabilityUK – an education charity designed to raise the aspirations of young people. Di and her team design and deliver bespoke employability skills programmes for young people aged 16-24. A volunteer-led charity, EmployabilityUK was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2021.  

Di has more than 25 years of corporate business experience from BT and O2, including delivering BT’s education and community programme in the Midlands. Di has held a number of volunteering roles including 6 years as a Special Constable with West Midlands Police and is currently a Parish Councillor and fundraiser.


CEO, Forensic Pathways

As CEO and Founder of Forensic Pathways (FPL), Deborah has responsibility for the strategic management and direction of Forensic Pathways, focussing particularly on the exploitation of its product and service offering to international markets and the Company’s commitment to Corporate Governance. 

Forensic Pathways is an international consultancy and technology design company, developing innovative technologies in the criminal and business intelligence field.  The Company provides threat intelligence technology and services to a range of public sector, private and corporate clients including Background Investigations, Open Source Intel, Social Media Investigations, Dark Web Monitoring/Investigations and Simulated Phishing Campaigns/Cyber Security Awareness Training.


CEO and Co-Founder of PET-Xi Training, Co-Founder of PET-Xi Restaurants

Fleur Sexton is a Deputy Lieutenant, representing Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Honorary Doctor of the University (BCU), Businesswoman of the Year and CEO and Co-Founder of multi-award-winning PET-Xi Training, one of the most hard-hitting and dynamic training providers in the UK with a reputation for success with the hardest to reach.

PET-Xi is a high-energy training specialist whose multi-award-winning teams work tirelessly to make a difference to people’s lives, firing up their minds with engaging and positive learning experiences designed to help them achieve their target grades, get back into employment or upskill and progress along their chosen pathways. 10% of all profits is given to charity and community projects every year through the PET-Xi Foundation.


Head of Legacy, Birmingham 2022

James has spent the last 22 years working in the public, private and charity sectors to provide opportunities and working with partners to create social impact across the West Midlands.

Born and raised in Birmingham, James is passionate about maximising the legacy and benefits of the Games for local people. He is humbled to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put the city, the region and its people on the global stage. James is committed to ensuring that the Games is representative of the region and the people who live here whilst ensuring that everyone understands that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a West Midlands event with Birmingham at its heart.  


Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner

Waheed has worked across the public, private and voluntary sectors, regionally and nationally. He works with a range of organisations and individuals providing support and advice on organisational change, governance, business development and strategic management.

He graduated from the London School of Economics in Social Policy and is a fellow of the RSA. He has been instrumental in developing leadership programmes for young people and mentors in inner city schools. Previously he gained director level experience in the NHS working in several strategic areas in different parts of the country. 

He is currently working on interim assignments in the public sector, is a trustee of Edgbaston Foundation and member of the CVS Honours Committee.


Professor in Entrepreneurship at Birmingham City University Business School, regional business leader and charity ambassador.

A national and international award-winning Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of success working in technology, manufacturing, retail, consultancy, media and membership organisations. Paul has taken businesses from conception to £100m plus turnover based largely on organic growth, experience, strategy and contacts.

Paul owns and operates numerous companies across a broad range of sectors and supports several organisations in various capacities, including holding current positions as vice president of Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust, Patron of EmployabilityUK and Board member of St Basils and Steps to work.

Mark O'Sullivan

Managing Director, BanaBay

Mark is a multiple business owner and serial entrepreneur spanning the fresh produce, recruitment-creative sector, digital, tech and retail industries.

Prior to starting multiple businesses Mark had a 19 year career in logistics. however opportunity arose in the fresh produce import/export industry and this led Mark to the path of entrepreneurship and he hasn’t looked back.

Praveen Gupta

National Head of Tax, Baldwins

Praveen is the Office Managing Partner for the Birmingham office and the UK Head of Tax.  Prior to Praveen joining the firm he trained and qualified as a CTA with a national practice in London before moving back to the Midlands area.

Praveen’s strategic role focuses on ensuring the Azets business is well established in the Midlands and ensuring that the team are empowered to achieve their objectives.  He is also responsible in setting and delivering the group’s wider tax strategy, developing the team and making sure that clients receive the best advice and an excellent service.  

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